Bertrand Russel "The Value of Philosophy" Summary

Topics: Bertrand Russell, Metaphysics, Logic Pages: 1 (276 words) Published: September 10, 2014
The Value of Philosophy
Bertrand Russell’s essay “The Value of Philosophy” is, as the title states, solely about the value of philosophy and why it demands to be studied. Russell’s writing in the beginning causes you to ask questions such as ‘Is the study of philosophy really important?’ and ‘Is the effort put into such controversial thinking/conversing even worth it when in the end obtaining definite knowledge is actually impossible?’. Russell inexplicably addresses the “practical-man” who only views philosophy as “useless trifling” and only sees the importance of material needs, and not the “goods of the mind”, so to speak. The author argues that the goods of the mind (which are indefinitely found in philosophical study) are just as important as having the goods of the body (food, water, etc.). Philosophy primarily aims at obtaining knowledge. Russell’s essay causes you to realize that while obtaining knowledge is the primary goal in philosophy, “no definite answers can be given” to the questions we seek in the subject. With this being said, this also raises the question ‘Is it good to know absolutely everything?’ Russell argues that the study of philosophy and the consideration of questions with no definite answer will “keep alive that speculative interest in the universe which is apt to be killed by confining ourselves to definitely ascertainable knowledge.” Reading the essay shows that there is such significance in the study of philosophy for it “keeps alive our sense of wonder.” Philosophy causes you to respect the question being studied, just as much as the answers that follow. Russell states, philosophy should be studied “for the sake of the questions themselves.”
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